Expert Tips: How I Started my First Professional Blog
Written by Ita Babayan
31 October 2017
When I started my first professional blog, I was in the same place as many of you: knowing a blog was important for my business, but not completely understanding how or why. I was a good writer and pretty well-informed about the industry I was in, but still a little confused over how to use those skills to get my message out to my would-be customers.
I kick-started my first blog seven years ago, and I’ve been blogging ever since.
I’ve made a bunch of mistakes along the way, but now I can apparently say that I've learnt a great deal as well. So I'd love to share my experience with you to help you get your professional blog off the ground smoothly and painlessly.
First things first, let’s start with why blogging is so essential for your freelance business. In addition to the fact that blogging earns you more pageviews, more sales, and more conversions (websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages than those without one), it’s also important for building your brand identity, and ensuring you’re presenting yourself in the best light to your customers.
Without a good blogging strategy, it’s almost impossible for you to stand out as a professional. Blogging helps you build your brand voice, attract new customers, and showcase your expertise. This way you boost your freelance business and ensure you gain the customers you deserve.
How to Start a Professional Blog
If you want to start a professional blog, you don’t have to be an expert. You just need to be willing to follow this checklist:
1. Understand Your Message
The first thing you need to do to start a blog is understand exactly what you’re trying to say. Who are you, who is your brand, and what’s the message you’re trying to deliver? By having a solid feel for these things first, it’s easier to ensure you’re communicating your message as clearly as possible.
If you’re not sure what your blogging “voice” is just yet, take some time to check out the content of brands you admire. Chances are, they’ll all have something in common. Are they funny and engaging? Professional and buttoned-up? While there’s never an excuse to plagiarize someone else’s brand voice, you can learn a lot about your own direction by looking at brands you applaud.
2. Create a Platform
Now that you know who you are and what you’re trying to communicate, you’ll need to build a platform to do it. Luckily, there are plenty of great web builders with built-in blogging platforms.
Ucraft is one of the easiest tools that can help you create a personal website and blog in just minutes. With simple drag-and-drop functionality and intuitive UX, it’s easy to create a professional blog from scratch, and to customize it according to your brand and preferences.
3. Start Blogging!
When I just started blogging, I used to write much differently than I do today. Initially, my tone was conversational (it still is) but much sloppier and less formal than it is today. That’s due, in large part, to the fact that I work as a professional writer, and my skills have ballooned over the years. It’s also because I've paid close attention to my audience, and adapted my approach accordingly.
The point here? Your voice will be different in three years than it is right now, and that’s okay. The most important thing is not to “nail” the voice on the first try, it’s just to start blogging. The sooner you jump in, the sooner you’ll adapt, grow, change, and become a better writer.
4. Stay Consistent
Consistency is critical when it comes to starting a professional blog. Without being consistent, your readers don’t have anything to look forward to or discover, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll succeed at developing much of a readership at all. What’s more, a lack of consistency makes it difficult to hone your voice and improve your writing.
With this in mind, create a plan to write on a consistent basis. For me, that started as one blog per week and eventually went up to posting 3-4 blogs weekly. If you’re feeling industrious, you could also write a whole bunch of blogs at once and schedule them to be posted automatically at given intervals.
No matter what you choose to do, developing a consistent schedule is one of the most important aspects of learning how to start a professional blog.
5. Learn Some SEO
If you want your blog to go the distance, learning SEO is vital. SEO stands for “Search engine optimization” and is one of the best ways to ensure your writing winds up in front of the right audience. While SEO itself is a comprehensive and complex industry, on-page SEO is the niche of it you want to focus on.
While it’s worth delving into this topic thoroughly, suffice it to say that on-page SEO involves simple things, like researching and incorporating target keywords, building local backlinks, optimizing meta content, including images, and knowing how to structure your blogs so they’re “Readable” for search engine bots.
When you get good at SEO, search engine bots have an easier time locating, indexing, and presenting your blogs, which, in turn, makes it much easier for readers to find your content. For additional help, check out Ucraft’s SEO app, which allows you to optimize your site quickly and easily.
6. Distribute on Your Favorite Channels
Once you’ve written your blogs, it’s time to distribute and publicize them. This is where your favorite social media networks will come in handy. Use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to showcase your newest works.
Not only will this help get your writing in front of more eyes, but it also dovetails nicely into the rest of your marketing strategy, and makes it possible for people to find your content when they want it.
7. Adjust as You Go
When you’re learning how to start a professional blog, you’ll run into lots of teachable moments. When you do, take them as they come. I adjusted my blogging approach dozens of times before arriving where I am right now, and I’m sure I’ll adjust several dozen more times before I write my final blog.
In the world of professional blogging, what doesn’t bend breaks. To avoid that being you as a blogger, you have to be willing to adjust. Pay attention to what your readers like, what your platform demands, and what you want to write. If you notice any of these things being out of sync, it’s time to shift accordingly.
8. Always Keep It Professional
Maintaining a professional approach in your blogging is essential. Not only does this make you more attractive to would-be customers, but it also helps ensure that the blogs you write are ones you’re proud of, even if they happened to go viral.
Bear in mind that being professional in your blogging strategy is not the same thing as being dry and depriving yourself of a voice. Rather, it means avoiding things, like polarizing topics, profanity, and vulgar jokes, for example, that could damage your overall impression. When you keep it classy, people are more willing to regard you as an expert in your field.
Your First Blog Made Simple
While blogging might seem challenging from afar, it’s actually quite simple. When I was learning how to start a professional blog, I made lots of mistakes. Luckily, following these eight tips and having Ucraft as your website builder, can help you streamline your blog launch process and enjoy a streamlined process.